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Warrington Sixth Highest Homelessness Levels In North West

Friday, December 28th, 2018 9:43am

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

Warrington has the sixth highest level of homelessness in the north west – with a lack of affordable housing in the town partly to blame.

Figures released by charity Shelter shows 320,000 people are recorded as being homeless in Great Britain.

It found that 210 people in Warrington are homeless and in temporary accommodation, while four people are sleeping rough.

Newham in east London is ranked as England’s number one homelessness hotspot, with 14,535 people in temporary accommodation and 76 individuals sleeping on the streets.

Despite Warrington having the sixth highest rate of homelessness in the region, the council insists it is ‘fully committed’ to supporting people at risk of, and experiencing, homelessness.

Furthermore, it has invested £1.5 million of capital funding to purchase new units of temporary accommodation as part of its New Start programme.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “Our focus on this is unrelenting, both in terms of prevention and relief.

“Last year, partners in Warrington were able to support families and reduce rough sleeping – despite pressures on housing availability, the effects of the buoyant Warrington economy and welfare reform.

“This winter, as part of our rough sleeper action, we are arranging a Safe Seats project in the town centre to provide somewhere safe and warm for people in case of an emergency.

“All homelessness services are currently under review to look at the type of service needed for the future that recognises the changing context and increasing challenges.”

Cllr McLaughlin also called on individuals and families to ‘sustain their tenancies’, with support from organisations including Warrington Wellbeing service, Citizens Advice Bureau and their housing providers.

She added: “The loss of a private sector tenancy is the main reason for homelessness in Warrington, followed by relationship breakdown.

“The impact of austerity and welfare reform, coupled with the demand for housing due to the buoyant Warrington economy, is resulting in increased homelessness.

“As of April 2018, new duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force to prevent and relieve homelessness.

“This has resulted in doubling the length of time the council has to work with individuals and families.

“This has subsequently caused some queueing in temporary accommodation.

“Homeless people are spending longer in temporary accommodation due to low turnover of social housing and affordability in the private sector.

“This has resulted in the number of homeless families and individuals estimated by Shelter being higher than neighbouring authorities, who are not experiencing the same pressures that Warrington faces around housing availability.”

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